What do urine tests in pregnancy test for?

Our guide to why healthcare professionals test your urine during pregnancy and what they are looking for

Urine tests: Why you have them in pregnancy

Understanding what is looked for in your urine during pregnancy

Pregnancy urine test 474

You’ll be asked to give a urine sample at your antenatal appointments. Your urine is checked for several things, including protein and sugar.


If this is found in your urine, it may mean you have an infection like cystitis or a kidney problem that you may not be aware of. In later pregnancy, if you also have high blood pressure, it may be a sign of pre-eclampsia.


Pre-eclampsia affects 5% of pregnancies but can lead to problems, including seizures. It’s a condition that will need to be closely monitored. Pre-eclampsia can also affect the growth and health of the baby. Women with the condition usually feel perfectly well, but as preeclampsia progresses, it may cause:

  • headaches
  • vision problems, such as blurring or seeing flashing lights
  • severe heartburn
  • pain just below the ribs
  • nausea or vomiting
  • excessive weight gain caused by fluid retention
  • feeling very unwell
  • sudden increase swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands

If you’ve had pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy you’ll take a low dose aspirin throughout your pregnancy to reduce the risk of it developing again.


Midwives also check your urine for sugar, which may be a sign of gestational (pregnancy) diabetes and can affect 1 in 20 mums-to-be. If you do develop gestational diabetes your midwife or a diabetic specialist will advise you on how to control your blood sugar through exercise and healthy eating.

If these don’t help you may need medication to help your body control blood sugar or in rare cases start to inject insulin.

What do urine tests in pregnancy test for?